Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Read it. Now.)

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Rating: 5/5

Cover art: 5/5  You have to read to understand the meaning of the bird (Mockingjay) and the arrow. The symbol is key in the plot of the book and that is why I think they did a fantastic job on the cover. It is simple, but also conveys so much in just one little symbol of hope.

Age Limit: 12 and up

Author: Suzanne Collins

Set in the future, Panem is the dystopian depiction of America that has fallen apart due to the rebellious nature of the Districts against the Capitol.  There are 12 districts in Panem and each district is responsible for a different product. For instance, District 12, the district in which the main character is a citizen, is known for mining. The capitol is full of vain and wealthy people that don’t know anything about working for their money except how to spend it next. The novel opens up on the life of Katniss Everdeen in the days prior to the Reaping.

Katniss lives in the part of District 12 that is known for producing miners, known as the Seam, and they are anything but rich. Katniss lives with her mother and her younger sister, Primrose, who plays a vital role in Katniss’ life. Her father died when she was young, but not before he taught Katniss everything he knew about plants and hunting. The fact that she knew even the slightest bit about plants and hunting for her food, saved her family from starvation. With a mother who is still grief stricken from losing her husband, Katniss became the mother figure of the family and provided for them. Even though going into the woods is illegal (and life-threatening), Katniss, along with her bow and arrow and her friend Gale, slips past the fence enclosing the district, and hunts in order to survive.

As mentioned above, the Reaping is a ceremony in which the Capitol, ensuring that the districts don’t try to rebel against them again, goes to each district, 1 through 12, and gathers every boy and girl, from the age of 12 to 17, into the square to pick the boy and girl tribute for the annual Hunger Games.

What is that, you ask? It is the “show” that the Capitol puts on every year in order to keep the districts from forming a rebellion against them as they once did. This is why there is no District 13 anymore. The Hunger Games takes each boy and girl tribute from each district (24 in all) and puts them into an arena together. You might think that is harmless enough, that maybe they are going to compete in some games. In a way, they are competing. Competing for their lives…for the Hunger Games is a televised fight to the death.

When first hearing about this book is 2010, I was a bit reluctant to read it. A friend was stubbornly trying to talk me in to reading it and I am too much of a reader to turn it down. I broke down and bought the book…And so the frenzy began. I was absolutely hooked. The (this is going to be an awkward description, but it’s the only way I can describe it) hard compassion that Katniss embodied was very relatable and it gave her a bit of realness that had the potential to capture anyone’s interest. She is hard against the world and her situation. She is trapped by the Capitol and the rules of this dystopian society, and also trapped by an emotionally devoid mother who barely takes care of her and her sister. She has so much resentment towards life. But she also has an unyielding compassion for those she loves. Her characteristics are so real and I love how Suzanne Collins didn’t force any unnatural emotions from Katniss.

Back at the Reaping, Katniss is hoping that she and the others that she loves, such as Gale and Primrose, names are not called. However her life is thrown thrashing to the ground when she hears Primrose’s name.

She, of course, can’t let her little sister go through this barbaric “show” for the Capitol’s convenience, so she volunteers to go in her place, which is a rare occurrence and is almost guaranteed suicide. So Katniss and a boy named Peeta Mellark are the District 12 tributes for the 74th annual Hunger games. May the odds be ever in their favor.

What next ensues is a myriad of emotions and determination. Katniss trusts no one and is lost in her own thoughts about the coming events. She is forced to be with the boy that could eventually turn against her, because, ultimately, there is only one winner. The boy and girl on each team could eventually be forced to kill the other. Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is one so full of a confusion that you would have to read the book to understand.

The Hunger Games is an easy read and hooks the reader from the very beginning. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens after the Reaping because what happens is a journey you have to take with these characters. I would (and have many, many times) recommend this to everyone. A wonderful dystopian novel captures the hearts of every reader, and leaves them wanting more of these wonderful characters’ stories.

Some characters and the productions from each district that are useful to know (on the Districts that don’t name the tributes, I will leave blank, but will still put the production that they are known for):

District 1: Marvel & Glimmer > Luxury Goods     |     District 2: Cato & Clove > Weapons

District 3: Electronics/ Explosives                            |     District 4: Fishing

District 5: Foxface (named by Katniss) > DNA     |     District 6: Medicine & Scientific Research

District 7: Lumber and Paper                                       |     District 8: Textiles

District 9: Food Processing                                           |     District 10: Livestock

District 11: Thresh & Rue > Agriculture                   |     District 12: Katniss & Peeta > Mining

With the upcoming movie, due to come out on March 23, 2012, the popularity of the book has skyrocketed! So hurry up and read it before the movie is released so you can be on top of things! The link to the trailer, if you haven’t seen it as of yet, is listed below. Pay attention to the whistle at the end, it is very important in the book.

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

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